By Bamuturaki Musinguzi
Published August 31, 2013
An anthology of 15 stories selected from 122 stories from 14 African countries has been launched in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Titled African Violet and Other Stories, the compilation includes the stories of the five authorsâ€”Rotimi Babatunde, Billy Kahora, Stanley Kenani, Melissa Tandiwe Myambo, and Constance Myburghâ€”shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2012.The stories are Bombayâ€™s Republic by Babatunde, Urban Zoning by Kahora, Love on Trial by Kenani, La Salle de Depart by Myambo, and Hunter Emmanuel by Myburgh.
Also included in the anthology are the works of 10 writers from six African countries who took part in the Caine Prize Writersâ€™ Workshop in South Africa in 2012. They include African Violet by South African Rehana Rossouw, Bloody Buda by Kenyan Waigwa Ndiangâ€™ui, Pillar of Love by Ugandan Beatrice Lamwaka, and Moving Forward by Lauri Kubuitsile of Bostwana, among others.
â€œWe are committed to making the Caine Prize for African Writing stories available to read on the continent, so we are delighted that we have in 2012 agreed to co-publishing arrangements with three more African publishers. Femrite in Uganda, Sub-Saharan Publishers in Ghana and Bookworld Publishers in Zambia join the long-standing partnerships we already have with Jacana Media in South Africa, Cassava Republic in Nigeria and Kwani? in Kenya,â€ the administrator of the Caine Prize, Lizzy Attree, writes in the Introduction of the anthology.
â€œWe have also added to the website substantially and created a blog as well as developed our Facebook and Twitter presence. And finally we have developed a partnership with the literacy NGO Worldreader to make the first nine award-winning stories available free to African readers via an app on their mobile phones,â€ Attree adds.
Femrite decided to co-publish the Caine Prize anthologies as one of the contributions to the growth of literature on the continent, Hilda Twongyeirwe, coordinator of Femrite, told ArtMatters.Info in Kampala. â€œThe Caine Prize is a major item on Africa’s literary landscape. It is in our interest to support the prize because it is supporting the growth of writing on the continent. It is supporting our writers. Femrite writers have been short listed for the prize. One Femrite member has won the prize. It is important that Ugandans see more of what our writers are writing outside Femrite.â€
Saying that they by publishing the anthology they are getting more people to access the anthology, to know about the prize and to read, Twongyeirwe adds that â€œThis in turn contributes to improving Uganda’s reading culture in general. We are also looking for good stories for the reading public and at an affordable cost. If the same Caine Prize book was to be bought from New Internationalist Publisher in South Africa, it would cost much more than the Femrite offer of USh15,000 (US$5.7). Collaboration is very important in getting things done much more easily and at a cheaper cost.â€